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patt might have given that Power the mastery of Europe
before its rival could so to speak catch up, still it is not
clear that our views need have been so constricted or our
diplomacy so confined to the immediate prospect. It
is jvist one of the real functions of diplomacy to tide a
country over such a time-lag and keep the world on its
feet till it gets round the dangerous corner; and in any
case, as we have seen, this was not the predicament that
was being envisaged in 1914 when the power of Russia
was creating such awe. Furthermore, if war in such
circumstances had been unavoidable after all (as might
well have been the case), even such a war might have
been fought to a different purpose and a different tune.

Precisely because there is so much matevolence—and
still more potential malevolence—in the world, it is
necessary not to despise the maxims which embody
the experience of more than a single lifetime and which
were directed to the safeguarding of a precarious civilisa-
tion, in other words the minimising of the area over
which the malevolent might have sway. There was an
ancient diplomatic science which one would wish one
could be sure was not forgotten in our time; and it was
while executing one* of its maxims that Bismarck
achieved what was perhaps the greatest diplomatic
victory he ever gained in time of peace. That victory
enabled him to postpone an apparently inevitable war
and the postponement continued almost for thirty
years; and the whole predicament was extraordinarily
parallel to that of Europe in the twentieth century, for it
centred around the self-same struggle between Russk
and Austria in the Balkans. According to the maxim